Johnson’s game winner came in the 90th minute, and helps the USA avoid an upset at the hands of the last-place and most lightly regarded team in their group.
Johnson had put the USA ahead in the 20th minute, however the home side pulled even five minutes later on a goal by Dexter Blackstock.
Both of Johnson’s goals came on headers. The first was assisted by Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), the second by Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes).
The game marked Johnson’s first appearance for the national team since 2010, and the goals were his first since 2008. He now has 14 international goals and 10 in World Cup qualifying.
Johnson became the first Sounders FC player to start a World Cup qualifying match for the United States.
The USA (3-1-1) completes group play Tuesday, facing Guatemala in Kansas City, Kan. They advance with a win or a draw.
“The U.S. has qualified for every World Cup now since 1990, so you don’t want to break that string for sure,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said earlier today. “… So getting three points tonight makes the game on Tuesday a lot easier.”
The Sounders return to MLS action Wednesday, when Real Salt Lake visits CenturyLink Field.
63′: Jermaine Jones picks up yellow card. and will miss Tuesday match vs. Guatemala.
Through 60: Still 1-1. USA 30 minutes away to potential disaster.
Second half: … has begun. No changes.
23′: GOAL Antigua. Home team pulls even on goal by Dexter Blackstock. 1-1.
20′: GOAL USA. Sounders’ Eddie Johnson heads USA up, 1-0. Zusi assist.
Pregame: Here’s a reminders that the USA visits Antigua & Barbuda in an important World Cup qualifying match at 4 p.m. Pacific.
Here’s the starting USA lineup: Howard; Cherundolo, Goodson, Cameron, Bocanegra (c); Zusi, Williams, Bradley, E. Johnson; Dempsey, Gomez.
The game’s importance aside, it will not be easy for most fans to watch, as the game is being shown on a beIN Sport feed not available on most cable outlets around Puget Sound. (My twitter feed @donruiztnt has asked for anyone showing the game in the area. An early response came from the Berliner Pub in Renton.) (Others feel free to add viewing spots in the comments section below.) (There also will be several blogs will live chats, including at MLSsoccer.com.)
Here is a preview from U.S. Soccer.
And here is some of what Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had to say today about the importance of the game, and the potential participation of Sounders goal-leader Eddie Johnson.